Explanation of Boat Excise Tax

Pursuant to Chapter 60B of the Massachusetts General Laws, every watercraft, including documented boats and ships, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water is subject to an excise tax unless expressly exempted. Excise is assessed for the "privilege of using the waterways."

The amount of excise due on a vessel in any registration year is calculated by multiplying the value of the vessel by the boats, ships and vessels excise rate. The rate is currently $10.00 per thousand dollars of value. The value of a vessel for the purpose of excise includes all equipment, including the mode of power and furnishings that are normally required aboard the vessel. The value is determined by the length and year of the vessel.

Excise tax will be assessed in the City or Town where the owner has the vessel habitually moored or docked for the summer season.

Excise for vessels are assessed on a fiscal year (July through June). If, during any fiscal year, the ownership of a vessel is transferred by sale or otherwise, the excise bill may be reduced by filing an abatement application (PDF).

The due date for boat excise tax is within 60 days of issue.